Human CD4(+) invariant NKT cells are involved in antibacterial immunity against Brucella suis through CD1d-dependent but CD4-independent mechanisms

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Human invariant NKT (iNKT) cells are a unique subset of T cells, which recognize glycolipids presented by the CD1d. Among the iNKT cells, several functionally distinct subsets have been characterized according to CD4 and/or CD8 co-receptor expression. The current study is focussed on the CD4(+) iNKT cell subset and its role in an anti-infectious response. We have examined the role of CD4(+) iNKT cells on the intracellular Brucella suis growth. Our results indicate that CD4(+) iNKT cells impair the intramacrophagic growth of Brucella. This inhibition is due to a combination of soluble and contact-dependent mechanisms: IFN-gamma is weakly involved while cytotoxic activities such as the induction of the Fas pathway and the release of lytic granules are major mechanisms. The impairment of Brucella growth by CD4(+) iNKT cells requires an interaction with CD1d on macrophage surface. Also, we have shown that although CD4 regulates several biological responses of CD4(+) iNKT cells, it is not involved in their antibacterial activity. Here, we have shown for the first time that the CD4(+) iNKT cell population has antibacterial activity and thus, participates directly in the elimination of bacteria and/or in the control of bacterial growth by killing infected cells.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1035
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


  • Cytotoxicity, Human, CD4, Bacterial infection, NKT cells